Brewers Brooding Over UPC Law

A New York state law is requiring all bottled products sold in the state to carry a New York-specific UPC code for bottle deposit and redemption, The Daily Gazette reported. The law, which is part of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which also expands the state’s bottle deposit law to water bottles, will begin on June 1.


Brewers across the nation are not happy about the bill and are contacting legislators to voice concerns about the new UPC code requirements. Among their concerns are that the price of implementing the requirements will be cost-prohibitive, especially for small breweries, because it will require companies to maintain a separate inventory of product for New York and create a special New York label.


David Casinelli, chief operating officer D.G. Yuengling & Son, the oldest operating brewing company in the nation, told The Daily Gazette that the June 1 deadline was unrealistic and that developing a separate New York inventory would be “cumbersome, costly and prohibitive. A smaller company like us would have to consider pulling our product from the state.”


John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council, a group that supported passage of the bottle bill, countered that while the new law requires businesses to make adjustments, it is necessary because “water bottles have become a significant source of litter.”


Under the new law 80 percent of the nickels collected as deposits on bottles but not redeemed would be returned to the state, and that money would be invested in environmental programs, such as recycling, parks and pollution prevention. The remaining 20 percent of unclaimed deposits would be kept by the beverage industry. The new UPC code is supposed to prevent people from collecting a deposit refund in New York on bottles they purchased in states that did not charge a deposit.


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